Kyle Palmieri scored twice against his former team Monday night for the New York Islanders, who earned a pivotal victory by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-1 in Elmont, N.Y.
Pierre Engvall scored in the first period and Bo Horvat and Zach Parise each scored empty-netters late in the third for the Islanders (38-28-9, 85 points), who stopped a two-game losing streak and lengthened their lead in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.
New York is three points ahead of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins and six points ahead of the ninth-place Florida Panthers, who lost 5-2 to the host Ottawa Senators on Monday.
The multi-goal game was the seventh of the season for Palmieri, who played 397 games for the Devils over five-plus seasons prior to being acquired by the Islanders in April 2021.
Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin made 30 saves.
Erik Haula scored in the second period for the Devils (46-20-8, 100 points), who lost for the sixth time in eight games (2-4-2) and missed a chance to move within one point of the idle first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.
New Jersey goalie Vitek Vanecek recorded 31 saves.
Palmieri collected the assist on the game's first goal, when Vanecek stopped his point-blank forehand shot before Engvall buried the rebound at 7:37 of the opening period.
The Devils tied the game in the second on Haula's unassisted, short-handed goal 1:28 after Jack Hughes was whistled for hooking. Brock Nelson's clearing pass eluded Noah Dobson and the puck sailed to Haula, who bore in on Sorokin and beat him with the backhand 6:15 into the period.
Nelson got some redemption a little more than eight minutes later, when he forced a turnover by Miles Wood and fired the puck up the ice. Palmieri caught up to the puck around the goal line, skated around the back of the net and flicked a backhander through a gaggle of players -- including Engvall and four Devils skaters -- and off the top post at 14:21 of the middle frame.
The Devils had eight of the first 10 shots in the third and nearly tied the game with 11:09 left, but officials ruled Tomas Tatar made a kicking motion when Dougie Hamilton's shot glanced off his skate.
Palmieri scored an unassisted goal for the insurance tally with 4:35 left before Horvat added his goal with 1:02 remaining and Parise scored with six-tenths of a second left.
--Field Level Media